Men's Basketball
Game 6 Notes & Links: Illinois at UNLV

Jon Ekey has scored 19 points in each of his last two outings.
Jon Ekey has scored 19 points in each of his last two outings.

 Game 6: Illinois (5-0) at UNLV (2-2)
 When Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 | 9:45 p.m. CT
 Location Las Vegas, Nev. | Thomas & Mack Center (18,500)
 Tickets Illinois at UNLV Tickets
 Television CBSSN (Andrew Catalon, PBP; Steve Lappas & Doug Gottlieb, Analysts)
 Listen Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 119 / XM 190
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | UNLV | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | UNLV | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Teleconference | Tracy Abrams | Jon Ekey | Malcolm Hill
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini | @IlliniAthletics | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 Jr. 11.6 4.6 3.2 1.0 spg
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 r-Jr. 15.6 5.6 2.2 5.6 FG/G
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 200 r-Sr. 13.0 7.4 1.8 57.5% FG
F 33 Jon Ekey 6-7 225 Gr. 10.6 7.2 0.2 48.1% 3FG
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 Jr. 9.2 7.2 0.0 3.0 bpg
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 Fr. 4.4 0.8 3.6 4.5 a/to
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 So. 1.8 0.6 0.4 3-4 3FG
G 21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 Fr. 4.8 3.6 0.8 22 FTA
C 22 Maverick Morgan 610 250 Fr. 1.0 1.2 0.0 3 blocks
G 25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 Fr. 3.2 1.6 1.0 42.9% 3FG
F 31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 Fr. 3.2 1.6 1.0 3 dunks
G 3 Ahmad Starks 5-9 170 Sr. 10.4 2.0 2.3 Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
G 11 Aaron Cosby 6-3 195 Jr. 12.6 2.5 3.0 Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
F 35 Darius Paul 6-8 220 So. 10.4 5.7 1.7 Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season

Nov. 21, 2013

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 113-69/.621 (5th year)
At Illinois: 28-13/.683 (2nd year)
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (2nd year), Paris Parham (2nd year), Jamall Walker (2nd year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Ryan Pedon (1st year)

Series Notes vs. UNLV
Series Record: Illinois leads 3-1
Last Meeting:  UNLV 64, #19 Illinois 48 (Dec. 17, 2011 at Chicago)
Series Streak: UNLV W-1
Record at Las Vegas: First meeting
Series Streak at Las Vegas: N/A
Groce vs. UNLV: First meeting

Opening Tips
• After opening the season with a five-game home stand, Illinois will play its first road game Tuesday night at UNLV. This begins a stretch of three out of the next four games away from State Farm Center, as well as six out of the next eight away from home prior to the start of Big Ten play.

• Illinois is aiming for a 6-0 start for the third consecutive season, and attempting to extend it's non-conference road winning streak to eight straight.

• Illinois is 13-0 in November under head coach John Groce, and overall has won its last 24 games in the month of November.

• Illinois has rebounded 47 percent of its misses, ranking fourth in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.

• The Illini never trailed in three of its first five games, and overall have trailed for a total of just 3:18 out of 200 minutes on the young season.

Rayvonte Rice has scored in double figures in all five games this season. Rice was the UI's leading scorer vs. Alabama State (22 points) and Valparaiso (18), added 13 each vs. Jacksonville State and Bradley and had 12 vs. Chicago State.

• Three current UI players have experience against UNLV, but none have scored against the Rebels. Joseph Bertrand appeared in the closing minute of Illinois' 2011 NCAA Tournament victory over UNLV. And Bertrand, along with Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu, all came off the bench in UNLV's victory at the United Center two seasons ago, combining for four rebounds and three assists.

Non-Conference Road Success
Illinois has won its last seven non-conference road games heading into Tuesday night's contest at UNLV. That streak spans the last five-plus seasons, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. Here is a look at the Illini's current non-conference road winning streak:

Date             Opponent              Score
Nov. 20, 2008    at Vanderbilt         W, 69-63
Dec. 2, 20009    at #18 Clemson        W, 76-74
March 17, 2010   at Stony Brook        W, 76-66
Nov. 27, 2010    at Western Michigan   W, 78-63
Nov. 24, 2011    at Maryland           W, 71-62
Nov. 16, 2012    at Hawaii             W, 78-77 (OT)
Dec. 8, 2012     at #10 Gonzaga        W, 85-74

Getting it Done on D
Illinois' defensive consistency has been the catalyst behind its 5-0 start. The Illini are allowing an average of just 57 points per game on 34.9 percent shooting. No opponent has yet to score more than 63 points or shoot better than 40 percent against the Illini defense.

This is the first time that Illinois has held each of its first five opponents to 63 points or less since the 2006-07 UI squad did so in the first six games.

Owning the Glass
The Illini have outrebounded four of five opponents by double digits and show a rebound margin of +14.6 on the season, ranking second among Big Ten teams. Much of that work has been done on the offensive glass. Illinois is averaging an impressive 17.0 offensive boards - ranking first in the conference - and converting an average of 14.8 points per game on second-chance opportunities. The UI's offensive rebound rate of 47 percent ranks fourth nationally.

The Illini have three players collecting more than seven rebounds per game, including an average of three or more on the offensive end, led by Joseph Bertrand (7.4 rpg, 3.0 oreb/g) and followed by Jon Ekey (7.2 rpg, 3.6 oreb/g) and Nnanna Egwu (7.2 rpg, 3.2 oreb/g).

Top of the League
Three Illini are at or near the top of the Big Ten in statistical categories. Freshman Jaylon Tate ranks second in the league with an impressive 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. The rookie point guard has registered 18 assists compared to just four turnovers in 98 minutes of action.

Junior Nnanna Egwu is the conference's No. 3 shot blocker, averaging 3.0 per contest. Egwu was fourth in that category a year ago (1.4 bpg) and has picked up the pace this season, totaling 15 blocks through five games.

Senior Jon Ekey ranks third in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding. He has grabbed 18 offensive boards, an average of 3.6 per game.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tickets
Illinois is offering a pair of ticket specials for shoppers this Holiday season.

A Black Friday sale will feature tickets to the Purdue game on Jan. 15 for the price of just $15 each under the promo code BF2013.

On Cyber Monday, Illinois will introduce tickets for the Dartmouth game on Dec. 10 for only $5 apiece via the promo code SPECIAL.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday ticket offers are avaialbe exclusively at

Game 5 Notes - Illini 77, Chicago State 53 (Nov. 22)
1. Illinois improved to 5-0 with the win, marking the third-straight season the Illini have started the season with at least five consecutive wins.

2. Illinois won its 27th straight non-conference game at State Farm Center, and extended its home court winning streak in regular-season non-conference games to 38 in a row.

3. Illinois ended the game on a 22-2 run after Chicago State pulled within 55-51 with eight minutes to play. The Illini held Chicago State without a field goal for the final eight minutes of the game.

4. After going 7-of-11 from 3-point range in the second half against Bradley and 9-for-21 against Chicago State, the Illini are now 16-of-32 (50 percent) from behind the arc in the last three halves after shooting 16-for-64 (25 percent) from long range in the first seven halves of the season.

5. The Illini had six turnovers in the first 5:49 of the game but only committed four giveaways in the final 34:11.

6. Illinois outrebounded the Cougars by 19 (39-20), the fourth time in five games the Illini have outrebounded their opponent by at least 13 boards.

7. Jon Ekey scored a game-high 19 points, his second straight contest netting 19 after totaling 15 points in his first three games combined.

8. With Illinois leading by four, 55-51, Ekey personally went on a 10-0 scoring run in a 2:14 stretch between 7:30 and 5:15 remaining in the game. In the stretch, he went 4-4 from the field, 2-2 from the 3-point line and grabbed five rebounds (two offensive).

9. Ekey is now 12-for-19 (63.2 percent) from the 3-point line in the last three games after starting the season making one of his first eight 3-point attempts. He has made five treys in back-to-back games.

10. Tracy Abrams posted a season-best five assists and tied a season-low with only one turnover.

Complete Illinois-UNLV Game Notes